A West Midlands firm has been fined £13,000 after an employee lost the tip of his finger in an unguarded drill.
Black Country Magistrates Court heard how the worker at H&H Alloy Sales Ltd had been drilling holes into metal components when the incident happened on December 18th last year.
The 32-year-old was using the machinery when his hand shot across a piece of metal and his middle finger caught on the drill bit. Because his glove was entangled in the device he was unable to pull it off.
Following the incident, he had to have the tip of the finger amputated and initially did not return to work for three months.
However, when he went back to the workplace in March, he suffered considerable discomfort and surgeons decided they would have to remove more of his digit, amputating to the first joint.
After a second spell off work, he finally returned to the factory, in Rowley Regis, last month.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that a guard had previously been removed from the drill and never replaced.
H&H Alloy Sales Ltd admitted breaking health and safety laws and, aside from the fine, will have to pay £1391 costs.
HSE Inspector Judith Lloyd said: “The incident was entirely preventable. The underlying cause was that it was custom and practice to use the drill without a guard in place. Instruction for employees was lacking and there was no system in place to check that guards were being used correctly, despite having a written procedure
“Following the incident the job was completed on a programmable automatic drilling machine which begs the question, why didn’t the company use this method from the start? If it had, a man would have been spared a painful injury.”